Our Gethsemane

 

LIKE a thief in the night, the world as we know it has changed in the blink of an eye. It will never be the same again, for what is unfolding now are the hard labour pains before the birth—what St. Pius X called a “restoration of all things in Christ.”[1]cf. The Popes and the New World Order – Part II It is the final battle of this era between two kingdoms: the palisade of Satan versus the City of God. It is, as the Church teaches, the beginning of her own Passion.

Lord Jesus, you foretold that we would share in the persecutions that brought you to a violent death. The Church formed at the cost of your precious blood is even now conformed to your Passion; may it be transformed, now and eternally, by the power of your resurrection. —Psalm-prayer, Liturgy of the Hours, Vol III, p. 1213

What a time to be alive! Before I go on, I ask for your patience. Because I see the advance of both kingdoms, and thus, both the warning and the hope. Once again, this writing will encompass both. I think proceeding in truth is always the right path, even when it is the hard truth…

 

OUR GETHSEMANE

I know it may be difficult right now to see past Calvary, beyond the tomb to the day of Resurrection that is coming for the Church—and it is coming, and it will be glorious.

The most authoritative view, and the one that appears  to be most in harmony with Holy Scripture, is that, after the fall of the Antichrist, the Catholic Church will once again enter upon a period of prosperity and triumph.The End of the Present World and the Mysteries of the Future Life, Fr. Charles Arminjon (1824-1885), p. 56-57; Sophia Institute Press

So, even though the Church passes through the various stages of Christ’s life at all times, I believe that corporately, the Body of Christ is entering into her own Gethsemane now, region by region, hour by hour. As Masses continue to be canceled all over the world, it is as though we are sharing a kind of “Last Supper.” Says one reader who emailed me moments ago:

It is with great sorrow that my parish is no longer celebrating the Mass and hearing Confessions… I have never had anything so crushing and devastating happen to me in my life.  It is like mourning the loss of a limb.

I just received a text from my daughter Nicole that the Masses in her city have all been canceled. Not knowing what I’m writing about, she said:

It feels like an early Holy Thursday, when the tabernacles are empty and you’ve never felt the world to be as dark as that night…

There is a palpable sense of abandonment spreading, especially when the faithful are being deprived of “private” Sacraments such as Confession or Communion to the sick. In Belgium, even Baptism is being denied to small gatherings. All of this seems unfathomable to a Church whose saints once boldly walked among the sick to comfort and help them, rather than “self-isolate.” Indeed, it would seem that the Pope has heard the lament of the lambs as he addressed the shepherds recently:

In the epidemic of fear that all of us are living because of the pandemic of the coronavirus, we risk acting like hired hands and not like shepherds… Think of all the souls who feel terrified and abandoned because we pastors follow the instructions of civil authorities — which is right in these circumstances to avoid contagion — while we risk putting aside divine instructions — which is a sin. We think as men think and not as God. —POPE FRANCIS, March 15th, 2020; Brietbart.com

Thus, many souls are making their way to Gethsemane where the Vigil of Sorrows has begun. In fact, as Christ handed over His liberty to the authorities through the “kiss of Judas,” so too, the Church is subjecting nearly all her freedom to the government and those who “know best.” But this has been long in the making ever since the “separation of Church and State” has, little by little, removed the Church from influence in the public sphere. While this is not necessarily related to the coronavirus, it is relevant, as we see clearly now that the Church is hardly autonomous today.

When we have cast ourselves upon the world and depend for protection upon it, and have given up our independence and our strength, then [Antichrist] will burst upon us in fury as far as God allows him. —St. John Henry Newman, Sermon IV: The Persecution of Antichrist

Case in point, another reader writes:

My 84 year old mother-in-law is having surgery this morning.  When we checked her into the hospital yesterday for pre-op tests we requested that a priest be contacted so she could receive the Sacrament of the Annointing of the Sick.  We were told that all of the priests in the diocese here were ordered by the bishop to self quarantine and that even if the diocese would allow a priest to come that it would be unlikely that the hospital would allow him to come in since he would not be viewed as essential personnel, so my mother-in-law likely will not be able to receive the sacrament.  We are heartbroken for her, and are praying that she makes it through surgery to live another day until she can make it back to the sacraments.

A priest wrote me with another perspective:

The Church has no public credibility to defy what governments are asking due to the poor handling of the sexual abuse crisis. We priests have been quietly suffering the humiliation of the sexual abuse scandal for a long time now. Maybe it’s the laity’s turn. After all, they had an obligation to pray for their priests and many have failed in that respect. Perhaps no public Masses is the laity’s part of the reparation.

And not just the Church, but it seems nearly all of society has passed beyond the point of no return in this crisis. Already, many cities and countries have determined that no one can leave their homes for weeks. The effect this will have on markets, banks, personal and business income, global stability and peace… is immeasurable. It is estimated, for example, that half of jobs in the U.S. alone could be lost. 

I am reminded again of what I sensed Our Lady say interiorly in 2008: “First, the economy, then the social, then the political order. Each will fall like dominoes from which a New World Order will rise.” A satanic kingdom, the Kingdom of the Anti-Will that will set itself against the coming reign of the Kingdom of the Divine Will “on earth as it is in Heaven.” How can I fail to tell you, my dear reader, that the times approaching are both glorious and yet dangerous? It is not unreasonable, for instance, to see that from this crisis all hard currencies (dollars and coins) will be eliminated from circulation because of their germ potential; and that debit machines with their keyboards will be replaced by scanning devices to complete the transition to a cashless society (see The Great Corralling). You can see where this is going. As British theologian Peter Bannister writes:

Everywhere [in private revelation, the teachings of the Early Church Fathers, and magisterial documents] it is affirmed that what we are facing, sooner rather than later, is the Coming of the Lord (understood in the sense of a dramatic manifestation of Christ, not in the condemned millenarian sense of a physical return of Jesus to rule bodily over a temporal kingdom) for the world’s renewal—not for the Final Judgment/end of the planet…. The logical implication on the basis of Scripture of stating that the Coming of the Lord is ‘imminent’ is that, so too, is the coming of the Son of Perdition. I don’t see any way whatsoever around this. Again, this is confirmed in an impressive number of heavyweight prophetic sources… —personal letter; cf. Rethinking the End Times

To balance what has been said, we must avoid vilifying those who are trying their best to care for those in their charge, most especially health care workers and civil leaders. And we need to pray for, love, and support our priests more than ever. We must also resist a kind of spiritual hubris whereby we feel we are above prudent precautions.

‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ So let’s not. No false pious bravery: “God’s on my side, I don’t have to worry.” No bravado! Wash your hands, sisters and brothers. Wash them. Let us keep a distance from each other, as hard and as awful as that is. But we know, you and I Christians, that there is no distance between those who are baptized into the Living Water, that spiritually we are united. And so while we keep distance, we must listen to our Holy Father who says, “Never can it be shown that just because we listen to government officials, that we think like government officials.” We think like a Church. And that means we must attend, deliberately, to those who are isolated, and lonely and are sick. There is no fleeing from them. —Fr. Stefano Penna, pastor of St. Paul’s Co-Cathedral, Saskatoon, SK

 

TESTED, BUT NOT ABANDONED!

With public Masses disappearing from the earth, the words of Benedict XVI take on new meaning:

…in vast areas of the world the faith is in danger of dying out like a flame which no longer has fuel. Letter of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to All the Bishops of the World, March 12, 2009; Catholic Online

Now, dear reader, we are going to be tested but not abandoned. We are going to be shaken but not destroyed. We are going to be attacked but the gates of Hell will not prevail. Just as Jesus was provided an angel of strength in Gethsemane, so too, the Church will be sustained in the times ahead by Divine Providence. But understand, this grace came to Jesus when, in His humanity, He resisted the temptation to despair and submitted himself completely into the hands of the Father.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.” And to strengthen him an angel from heaven appeared to him. (Luke 22:42-43)

Likewise, cast yourselves and your families at the feet of the Father this night, and trust. This time, you have to.

I have given you briefly above a big picture of what is coming “out there,” but now it is time to understand what Our Lady and Lord want to do “within”, that is, within your heart. I want to share a powerful interior vision I had in 2007:

I saw the world gathered as though in a dark room. In the center is a burning candle. It is very short, the wax nearly all melted. The Flame represents the light of Christ. The wax represents the time of grace we live in. 

The world for the most part is ignoring this Flame. But for those who are not, those who are gazing at the Light and letting It guide them, something wonderful and hidden is happening: their inner being is secretly being set aflame.

There is rapidly coming a time when this period of grace will no longer be able to support the wick (civilization) due to the sin of the world. Events, which are coming, will collapse the candle completely, and the Light of this candle will be snuffed out. There will be sudden chaos in the “room.”

He takes understanding from the leaders of the land, till they grope in the darkness without light; he makes them stagger like drunken men. (Job 12:25)

The deprivation of Light will lead to great confusion and fear. But those who had been absorbing the Light in this time of preparation we are now in will have an inner Light by which to guide them (for the Light can never be extinguished). Even though they will be experiencing the darkness around them, the inner Light of Jesus will be shining brightly within, supernaturally directing them from the hidden place of the heart.

Then this vision had a disturbing scene. There was a light in the distance… a very small light. It was unnatural, like a small fluorescent light. Suddenly, most in the room stampeded towards this light, the only light they could see. For them it was hope… but it was a false, deceptive light. It did not offer Warmth, nor Fire, nor Salvation—that Flame which they had already refused.  

In other words, this is the time for deep interior prayer. This is the time to turn off the traumatic headlines and enter into communion with Christ. It is the time to let Him fill you with supernatural Joy and Peace and Wisdom and Understanding. It is the time for us, as families, to pray the Rosary every day, reminding ourselves of the words of St. John Paul II:

At times when Christianity itself seemed under threat, its deliverance was attributed to the power of this prayer, and Our Lady of the Rosary was acclaimed as the one whose intercession brought salvation.Rosarium Virginis Mariae, n. 3

But more than that… it is the time to prepare for your own specific mission. This is not the hour of passivity but preparation. Our Lady’s Little Rabble is being called to duty. It is not the time for comfort, but the time for miracles. I have more to say about this!

 

The greater the darkness, the more complete our trust should be.
—St. Faustina, Divine Mercy in My Soul, Diary, n. 357

 

O Mary, you shine continuously on our journey
as a sign of salvation and hope
We entrust ourselves to you, Health of the Sick.
At the foot of the Cross you participated in Jesus’ pain,
with steadfast faith.
You, Health and Strength of the Roman People,
know what we need.
We are certain that you will provide, so that,
as you did at Cana of Galilee,
joy and feasting might return
after this moment of trial.
Help us, Mother of Divine Love,
to conform ourselves to the Father’s will
and to do what Jesus tells us:
He who took our sufferings upon Himself,
and bore our sorrows to bring us,
through the Cross,
to the joy of the Resurrection. Amen.

We seek refuge under your protection,
O Holy Mother of God.
Do not despise our pleas – we who are put to the test –
and deliver us from every danger,
O glorious and blessed Virgin.

 

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